The NFL draft is over and while free agency is still an option for the Buffalo Bills, the meat and potatoes of roster additions have been added. Sure, Buddy Nix will keep an eye on the open market and waiver wire and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few new faces before training camp begins in July, but for the most part what you see now is what you get with this roster.
Given possible reinforcements before camp, not to mention unfortunate injuries that may occur, it’s ridiculous to try and project the Bills final roster before recreational softball season even begins.
But then again–what the hell else better is there to do? Therefore, here’s my initial look at how Buffalo’s opening week 53-man roster may look, at least if the season were starting now.
QB (3): Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tyler Thigpen, Brad Smith
RB (4): Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller, Johnny White, Corey McIntyre
WR (6): Stevie Johnson, Donald Jones, David Nelson, T.J. Graham, Marcus Easley, Ruvell Martin
TE (3): Scott Chandler, Mike Caussin, Lee Smith
OL (9): Chris Hairston, Andy Levitre, Eric Wood, Kraig Urbik, Erik Pears, Cordy Glenn, Chad Reinhart, Zebrie Sanders, Colin Brown
DL (8): Mario Williams, Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, Mark Anderson, Spencer Johnson, Alex Carrington, Torrel Troup, Chris Kelsay
LB (7): Nick Barnett, Kelvin Sheppard, Kirk Morrison, Shawne Merriman, Nigel Bradham, Tank Carder, Chris White
CB (6): Aaron Williams, Drayton Florence, Stephon Gilmore, Justin Rogers, Ron Brooks, Terrence McGee
S (4): George Wilson, Jairus Byrd, Da’Norris Searcy, Bryan Scott
ST (3): Rian Lindell, Brian Moorman, Garrison Sanborn
Projected Roster Spot Holders In Most Jeopardy:
A) Terrence McGee: Assuming the Bills keep six corners and don’t add anyone of significance after drafting two this past weekend, the final spot could come down to McGee against Leodis McKelvin, especially if Ron Brooks performs well. While McKelvin has been a first-round bust that the staff couldn’t trust to play corner late last season, one more injury, maybe even a small one that causes him to miss time could spell the end of his long run in Buffalo.
B) Shawne Merriman: If he wants to stick around, he better show this summer that he’s at least very close to full strength. By adding Mario Williams and Mark Anderson to the pass rush, Merriman isn’t as vital. He better recapture his ability to get after the quarterback in training camp, because there isn’t much use for him otherwise.
C) Lee Smith: No tight end is completely safe behind Scott Chandler, not Mike Caussin either. Buffalo didn’t draft a tight end, so we’re going under the assumption they’re keeping three, with Smith and Fendi Onobun fighting out a third roster spot. I know Buffalo never puts much emphasis on a strong tight end unit, but don’t be surprised to see this position get addressed with free agency or through the waiver wire sometime over the next few months.
D) Johnny White: He’ll have to contend with a hungry Tashard Choice for a role behind Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller.
E) Colin Brown: The Bills could go a variety of ways with interior line backups between now and September, and even if sixth-round rookie Mark Asper is stashed on the practice squad, it doesn’t mean Brown is safe.
Notable Cuts: Dwan Edwards, Leodis McKelvin, Arthur Moats Tashard Choice, Derek Hagan, Naaman Roosevelt, Sam Young,.
**A Few Notes**
I’m real surprised Dwan Edwards is still here. In fact, I almost feel sorry for him. He’s a bad fit in a 4-3 defense with Kelsay likely to split reps with Anderson. Even with Nix saying he’s kicking Carrington inside, I don’t see any room for Edwards on the final roster.
The Bills didn’t trade up for Graham in round three for him to not be on the roster, so assuming Buffalo keeps six receivers active it appears to be a huge battle between Martin, Roosevelt, Hagan and Clowney for that sixth spot. I give the edge to Martin because of special teams ability.